There have been a few websites recently that have posted articles saying that the Denver Broncos starting corners Champ Bailey and Chris Harris are the best tandem in the entire NFL based on some stastistics.
Bailey and Harris only allowed 929 yards to opposing receivers, which ranked them first in the NFL as a cornerback tandem. How good is that? Well, consider this: only four starting cornerbacks in the NFL allowed less than 929 yards by themselves.
Bailey, the 34-year old veteran who is a regular at the Pro Bowl, had a solid regular season with 66 tackles, nine passes defensed and two interceptions. Harris’ numbers were actually better, but mostly because teams throw his way a lot more often than Bailey. Harris had 61 tackles, 12 passes defended, three interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and 2.5 sacks.
Another very impressive stat from Pro Football Focus is that Bailey only allowed .82 yards per snap, which is fourth best in the NFL, and Harris only allowed .91 yards per snap, which ranks him ninth in the league. Other Broncos who have started opposite from Bailey over the last year or two have averaged over 1.6 yards per snap.
It’s very common for a corner that is on the opposite side of the field from Bailey to get thrown at a lot and not be able to hold their own, but Harris played exceptionally well in his second season at the age of 24, and is a very important key to the Broncos’ defense.
When quarterbacks chose to avoid Bailey and went toward Harris, he stepped up by only allowing them to have a 66.5 passer rating when throwing his direction. Harris is also very good against the run, as he ranked second in the NFL against the run from the cornerback position. With Bailey supposedly coming back in 2013, this duo has the chance to put on quite the encore.
We should see this duo for a couple more years in Denver and hopefully Harris for a very long time.
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Mark Stringer is a Denver Bronco writer for RantSports.com.